How To Apply Thermoplastic Line – A FAQ Guide

If you are interested in the how to’s in regards thermoplastic line look no further. Read our article below to find out more:


Which Side Up Do I Lay Thermoplastic Tape Rolls?

For our premium thermoplastic line always lay the beaded side up. The beaded side has the reflective beads built in.

On the Centrecoat Economy Thermoplastic Rolls and symbols the side that has the cross hatching on should be laid downwards. On the standard thermoplastic one the side that has the reflective glass beads faces up.

Do I Need To Use Tack Coat Thermoplastic Primer?

Yes, always use tack coat on concrete or aged asphalt.

Tack Coat has been developed for use on concrete and old asphalt. It should always be applied when installing thermoplastic to concrete. It will not harm to use the Tack Coat on Tarmac.

Do I Need To Clean The Surface Before I Apply Thermoplastic?

The substrate should be swept clean of all debris before application commences. A stiff wire brush can be used to remove stubborn deposits. The use of a leaf blower is also recommended. You should remove all organic materials before application.

Can I Apply Thermoplastic To A Wet Surface?

Damp meter

No, the ground should be dry. You can use a gas torch to dry the surface before application. If you have a damp meter, it is wise to check the moisture content of the substrate.

How Should I Store Thermoplastic?

Thermoplastic should not be left in a van over night during the winter months. If the temperature drops below 5 degrees the thermoplastic can become brittle and break. This is more common on the Economy Thermoplastic.

What If My Thermoplastic Has Broken?

If the thermoplastic has broken, you can lay the thermoplastic as normal. When you heat the thermoplastic, it will melt and merge. You should not be able to see the break.

Can I Use A Small Gas Torch Such As The Type A Plumber Would Use?

No. Small gas torches that use a disposable canister do not produce enough heat to melt thermoplastic. Gas touches that use MAP gas create a relatively small flame that is to hot and will burn the thermoplastic. The burners on both of these types of gas touches are to small to be used for applying thermoplastic rolls and graphics.

What Type Of Gas Torch Can I Use To Apply Thermoplastic?

You will require a gas torch that has a burner that is approximately 50-65 mm (2-2 1/2 inches) in diameter. This will provide a more even heat pattern. A lance that is approximately 1 metre (3 feet) in length and has a flame stabiliser is recommended. This type of torch is often referred to as a Roofers Torch.

What Type Of Gas Is Used To Heat Thermoplastic?

Most roofers gas torches use propane gas. They are normally supplied with the correct regulator for propane gas. Propane operates at a higher pressure than butane. It is not possible to change from one gas to the other without also changing to a different regulator. The important difference between the gases is that propane will not freeze. It can be used in temperature down to minus 43 degrees centigrade.

Can I Apply New Thermoplastic Over Existing Thermoplastic?

It is possible to apply new thermoplastic on top of existing thermoplastic providing the existing thermoplastic is sound. The surface of the thermoplastic should be scarified and heated before the new thermoplastic is applied. Thermoplastic is approximately 3 mm thick and 2 layers could become a trip hazard. If this is the case the existing thermoplastic should be removed first.

Can I Apply Thermoplastic Over Paint?

Thermoplastic does not like to be applied over some types of paint. This includes chlorinated rubber and water based acrylics. You can however apply thermoplastic over some single pack and 2 pack epoxies as well as MMA. It is recommended that a trial is carried out before application.

How Do I Remove Old Thermoplastic?

For best results, old thermoplastic can be removed with a scarifier this grinds the lines by using a tungsten carbide tipped grinding disk, this will remove the existing lines but due to its aggressive nature will leave the surface scarred. Thermoplastic lines can also be removed by Abrasive Blasting. This is performed by propelling either course sand particles or Bauxite Grit at high pressure at the lines. These blasting media have sharp angles that chip the lines away leaving a clean surface. Some scarring will be evident after this process has been carried out. Steel media can be used but any media not collected can leave unsightly rust deposits when it becomes wet.

What Is The Best Way Of Applying Thermoplastic Lines?

Apply the tack coat if required, ping a chalk line and simply roll the thermoplastic along the chalk line. Then apply heat to bind it to the substrate.

How Do I Mark Out Thermoplastic Car Parking Lines?

Use a Chalk Line to ping a straight line on the ground and then lay the thermoplastic rolls along the line. Setting out the parking spaces is carried out by using a large set square or by the adopting the 3-4-5 method.

If a triangle has sides measuring 3, 4, and 5 feet (or any other unit), it must be a right angle triangle with a 90º angle between the short sides. If you make this triangle in your corner, you know the corner is square.

How Do I Apply The Tack Coat?

If you are using the aerosol tack coat, this should be applied to the ground and not to the tape. Allow approximately 3-5 minutes before applying the tape for the tack coat to dry.

Apply the liquid version of tack coat primer with a 2-3 inch bristle brush. Again, to the substrate not the tape.

How Do I Know I Have Heated The Thermoplastic Enough?

Temperature Meter PromainYou can use a digital spot thermometer to monitor the heat of the ground before you apply the thermoplastic. Whilst you are heating the thermoplastic, use the thermometer to confirm you have reached 220°C. This  temperature is required to melt the thermoplastic.

How Do I Heat Thermoplastic?

After you have unrolled the thermoplastic, it needs to be heated to melt it creating a bond to the substrate. ALWAYS apply the heat from side to side across the thermoplastic line NOT along the length of the line. The heat will cause the line to lift slightly creating what looks like a wave. You can then chase this wave along its length. Apply heat until the thermoplastic bubbles like cheese on toast.

What If I Want To Lay Thermoplastic Line In Cold Weather?

If the surface temperature is below 5°C heat the ground with the gas torch before you lay the thermoplastic. This will help the thermoplastic to stick to the surface.

What Do I Do If My Thermoplastic Line Comes Up After Heating?

You can try applying more heat but there is only a small chance it will stick. You normally have a 20 minute window from start to finish. We suggest you remove the thermoplastic and apply new.


If you have any other questions in regards thermoplastic, please contact our technical team on 01462 421333.

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles